Why Don’t Cyclists Use Bike Paths?

This is a serious question and I’m not criticizing cyclists in any way, I’m genuinely curious.

I noticed that a lot of cyclists aren’t using the bike paths. Especially on the stretch of Las Positas towards Hendry’s Beach where the new path is quite nice.

Is there a reason why cyclists prefer to be on the roadway next to cars instead of their designated and separate path?

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What do you think?


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  1. its possible that those types of cyclists are on a specific route and have a time frame. alot of those guys are hardcore and the bike lane on the road is……free of pedestrians. that is a massive safety issue and an ongoing problem. people, walk on the side walks please and stay out of the bike lanes unless you’re on a bike or similar….

  2. I think it depends on the cyclist and the location. Along Las Positas, I would agree – except it depends on where you are coming from/ going. If you are coming down Cliff and going all the way up Las Positas to State, for example, it might not really be convenient to cross over and back to the bike path. (Personally, I love that path).

    Along Modoc, if you are biking east, the bike LANE in the road does not have stop signs, but the bike path has stop signs at every cross street. On the rare times that I bike to work (west along Modoc), I don’t bother to take the new bike path, I just stay in the bike lane on the right. That will change when the new bike path is fully connected all along Modoc to UCSB path.

  3. The speed limit on the multi-use path (that includes walkers, strollers, children running wild, joggers, scooters) is 15 mph. Most road bikes are traveling faster than that. Even at 15 mph, the aforementioned other uses are often unpredictable.

    As for on Modoc, well, the planners screwed up MAJORLY by putting the path on that side of the road and littering it with stop signs at every intersection, I wouldn’t use it on a bike either! It’s really a shame they designed it that way, it could have been oh so much more functional and safer for all.

  4. If you’re already cycle-commuting you’re probably used to sharing with cars and may be going faster than is comfortable for a multi-use path. Can also just be memory/inertia – like on Modoc going east I’ll sometimes forget to cross over onto the path so just keep going on the cycle lane. Really the major beneficiaries and targets of the dedicated cycle lanes are casual cyclists, families with kids, who are not comfortable sharing with cars.

    • As you note, the new path on Modoc is multi-use. It’s not solely a dedicated cycle lane. Often there are no pedestrians, skaters, etc. on the multi-use path, but fast bicyclists don’t want to take the chance that they will encounter some. However, I do find it irritating when bicyclists ride in the actual car lanes there, or straddle the bike lane line. They have two options! Choose one and let the cars have theirs.

  5. It depends on the kind of cycling. Cyclists (i.e. spandex warriors) are out on training rides going well above 15mph. It’s not only inconvenient but unsafe to use a mixed use path like the one in Los Positas. That type of riding is much more appropriate for a standard bike lane and road shoulder. People that are out for a casual ride/commute should absolutely use the path but it’s nice that there is still a bike lane on that stretch for people that want/need to ride faster without obstructions. Same for Cabrillo, the path is not meant for road cyclists.

    I could say the same for e-bikes but that’s another can of worms.

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